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First Fruits

FIRST FRUITS ([1] רֵאשִׁית, H8040, LXX ἀπαρχή, G569. An adjective meaning “first” which modifies the particular product concerned. [2] בְּכֹר, H1147, LXX πρωτογένημα. From a root “to bear early, new fruit”).

First fruits of twenty barley loaves and of fresh ears of grain supplied Elisha with resources to feed a hundred men (2 Kings 4:42). First fruits were given to priests in Hezekiah’s time (2 Chron. 31:5); were pledged in Nehemiah’s day (Neh 10:35) and men were appointed to oversee store chambers in which to store them (Neh 12:44; 13:31). The first fruits were included in Ezekiel’s plans for worship (Ezek 44:30; 48:14).

Though the NT has no provision for the paying of first fruits, the community from which the Didachē arose paid first fruits of the winepress, threshing floor, oxen, sheep, bread, newly opened jars of wine and oil, of money, of clothes, and of all possessions to the prophets as being the high priests, and in the absence of prophets, gave them to the poor (Didachē 13:3).

Bibliography G. F. Moore, Judaism (1927), II, 71; G. Delling, “aparche” in Kittel, TWNT (1933), I, 483, 484; J. Pedersen, Israel (1940), III, 300ff.